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Ghent Town Board reviews mine, motocross and money

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GHENT-Comments during the public forum at the Town Board meeting Thursday, November 17 addressed concerns that included a gravel mine proposed for Carpenter Road and whether the town will allow motocross vehicle racing.

Town Attorney Ted Guterman said that the Planning Board had reached an impasse on whether to approve the mine, with a three-to-three vote. “There has been no decision. After the deadlock, they voted to deny the petition. So the mine can make an appeal. It’s up to the court,” he said.

Asked about whether a fine was levied against MG Productions for staging a drag race after receiving an order to cease and desist, Mr. Guterman said “A complaint was filed against MG Productions. It will be heard in town court. If the judge decides it was in violation, he may fine MG.”

Resident Alan Liliquest addressed the issue of motocross, saying, “If it’s against zoning, [it] can’t be allowed.”

But Michael Autrey, also a resident of Ghent and the petitioner who wants to stage a motocross event, protested. “Three of five board members voted for a permit to allow motocross. They asked me to return for a rehearing then told me there was nothing to hear. The whole appeals board agreed that I can have my event whenever I want,” he said.

Mr. Autrey had been told at a previous meeting that he must start the permit process all over again because his last permit application had expired.

Michael Schrom said that over 150 people had signed a petition objecting to motocross.

A veteran spoke in favor of starting a clinic for veterans in Columbia County.

The board adopted a preliminary budget for 2012 totaling $515,733 not including lighting and fire district expenses. Members were scheduled to adopt the final budget November 22. In the discussion of the budget proposal, raises for elected officials were eliminated.

Under the 2012 proposed budget. The property tax rate would rise from $38 to $39 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The town plans to purchase a new tractor mower for $102,000 and is considering buying a new 10-wheel truck for the road crew during the coming year.

In other business:

*The town is negotiating with the power utility NYSEG, which is seeking to run a new transmission line through Ghent. A covenant removes the town’s jurisdiction over the route if the length is over 10 miles, so the utility has proposed route full of zigs and zags.

“Until they address our engineers’ suggestions, we’ll object to them proceeding with this,” said Mr. Guterman.

*The town is planning a tree lighting ceremony, and a breakfast for children with Santa Sunday, December 4.

*Over 70 families signed up for turkey dinners from the Ghent food pantry.

Following the discussion of these matters the board retired to an executive session to discuss litigation. 

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